Eddie Bravo is among the most revered voices on this planet of jiu-jitsu, however even he needed to admit that motivating a faltering fighter in a UFC title bout was a bridge too far for him.
As a part of Tony Ferguson’s staff for his interim light-weight championship combat in opposition to Justin Gaethje at UFC 249, Bravo was introduced in for his grappling experience and shut relationship with Ferguson. What he didn’t count on was that he must attempt to discuss “El Cucuy” again into the combat after it grew to become obvious that Gaethje was in management heading into the ultimate spherical.
As skilled as he’s with working with a few of MMA’s greatest, mid-fight teaching was one other world for Bravo.
“I’ve by no means been a head MMA coach ever in my life,” Bravo stated on a current episode of The Joe Rogan Expertise. “By no means wished to be. By no means wished to be and even to at the present time, that’s on me, by no means been. I’m not Trevor Wittman, that man’s superb. I’m not a Greg Jackson, Duke Roufus. That’s an entire ‘nother stage. That’s a man that needs to be speaking to the fighter that’s sitting down.
“I’m the vast receiver coach. I’m the man that simply throws in s*it on the aspect. Particularly in a standup combat, I shouldn’t have been mic’d, as a result of I knew this was gonna be a standup combat. If the combat was gonna go to the bottom, if it was the Khabib (Nurmagomedov) combat, yeah, possibly there’s gonna be lots of floor work, possibly it is smart for tv to mic me. However once they have been mic’ing me up, I’m like, I’m simply there for emotional assist as a result of it’s gonna be a standup conflict.”
Bravo stated that it was Ferguson’s plan to outbox Gaethje, a dangerous technique given Gaethje’s historical past of highlight-reel knockouts and all-out standup wars. Even when they wished to alter technique in the course of the championship bout, Bravo identified that Ferguson has by no means used wrestling to impose his will on his opponents and that he prefers to achieve advantageous positions on the bottom by way of scrambles, not takedowns.
Understanding this, Bravo was insistent that he not be employed to speak to Ferguson between rounds. Just one coach was allowed within the cage at a time as a result of COVID-19 restrictions and thru the primary three rounds it was both muay Thai coach Billy Fonua or boxing coach Rashad Holloway who supplied session to Ferguson.
“One of many weirdest issues was in between the primary spherical and second spherical, they solely allowed one coach in and so they stated, ‘Who’s it gonna be?’ And I used to be the primary one to say, ‘Not me,’” Bravo stated. “I’m not the MMA head coach, it’s gotta be the putting coach that goes in there. Everyone agreed, for certain.
“It’s all the time gotta be the putting coach, the pinnacle coach, the man that talks to him. I’m simply the man that provides strategies. I by no means wished to be [the head coach], by no means tried to be.”
So far as Bravo recollects, there was no although to dropping by the wayside for Ferguson. Ultimately, after taking a large quantity of punishment, the bout was stopped within the fifth spherical with lower than 90 seconds remaining and Gaethje walked out with a TKO victory.
Gaethje’s efficiency was a dominant one, however Bravo thought it was aggressive by way of the primary two rounds. It wasn’t till he was thrust into the cage after spherical 4 that he noticed simply how badly the combat was going for Ferguson.
“The primary spherical, in my eyes, on the occasion, I believed, ‘Okay, that might have went both manner,’” Bravo stated. “Second spherical, on the very finish, with two seconds left, he clips Justin. So after two rounds I’m considering, ‘Okay, now it’s gonna begin to flip round.’ So at that time, after the second spherical, he knocked him down. If he would have had 30 seconds, who is aware of what would occur, however at that time it’s the third spherical. I’m like, ‘Okay, possibly Tony’s gonna flip it round like he all the time does.’ So at that time, we weren’t considering we gotta take him down or something like that.
“However after that fourth spherical, it was trying like, ‘Oh, s*it.’ And proper when the bell rung after the fourth spherical, Rashad turns round like, ‘Eddie, get in there.’ I wasn’t prepared for it. I wasn’t able to stroll in there. So I walked in there going, ‘What the f*ck? I’m not an MMA head coach.’ That is the fourth spherical, he’s harm, and plus, my automotive acquired damaged into final week, they stole my glasses. I want my glasses, I’m fairly blind. So I didn’t notice how minimize up he was till I walked as much as him. Okay, I’m supposed to present him recommendation, this vast receiver coach. It was a mistake for me to go in there. It was a mistake.”
Impaired imaginative and prescient wasn’t the one problem Bravo was having. He was additionally thrown off by the empty enviornment present and the dearth of preparation when it got here to presumably implementing grappling strategies if essential. He advised Ferguson to try an Imanari roll, although he knew it might be ineffective late within the combat.
All in all, Bravo admitted he was overwhelmed by the expertise.
“I’m in there going, at this level, he’s harm, he’s minimize up, lots of issues are swirling by way of my head, and I’m considering, ‘Oh my God. What the hell? What’s the greatest recommendation right here? I need assistance right here.’ I froze,” Bravo stated. “And it’s so quiet, it’s so quiet. Often you’re like, ‘Dude, you’ve acquired to take this motherf*cker down!’ But it surely’s so quiet, it’s so g*ddamn quiet that everybody’s speaking decrease. It was simply so bizarre.”
Watch Bravo’s clip from The Joe Rogan Expertise under: